(Marvel) Comics (The Untold Story) Will Break Your Heart

Published on November 16th, 2012

If you’re a longtime comic fan, like me, then you’re probably already aware of some of the stories behind the scenes – Some of the less savory anecdotes of creators who have been denied rights to their creations, of editorial interference into a story, of the money-men behind the scenes with an eye exclusively on the bottom line. And maybe, like me, you’ve always been curious about some of the unsung heroes behind the scenes, the men and women whose hard work and endless commitment got the comics you loved into your hands.

Sean Howe’s “Marvel Comics: The Untold Story” goes back to the earliest origins of the Marvel Comics we know and love, and unearths all of the good, the bad, and the extraordinarily ugly, in a thoroughly engaging read featuring the memories of over 150 sources. It’s not a light read – Howe doesn’t pull a lot of punches in describing the woes of creators, the feuds between beloved personalities, and the often cynical nature of the comics publishing world. But he is extremely balanced and even handed in how he presents the facts and circumstances of each anecdote, and he takes a moment to let every one of the people in this long and complex story have their moment. I had my spirits raised and my heart broken over and over again reading this book. If you’re a fan of Marvel Comics at all, and you think you can handle really learning how the sausage is made, definitely pick up this book.

In other Marvel news, this past Sunday marked the final episode of “The Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” cartoon. The Avengers-sized hole in your Sunday-morning cartoon schedule won’t be around long, with Disney XD prepping a new “Avengers Assemble” cartoon to more closely mirror its “Ultimate Spider-Man” show. I’ve never been a particularly big fan of the Ultimate Spider-Man show, though. Earth’s Mightiest Heroes was more a show intended for fans like me. It reminded me a lot of the 90s-era X-Men cartoon, a show that drew heavily from the comics while creating its own very unique and special world, and not coincidentally, also helped interest a whole new generation in the X-Men and comics in general. I would like to be among the first to request that Disney/Marvel release a box set of both seasons of “Avengers: Earth’s Mightiest Heroes” as soon as possible. And in the meantime, thanks to the writers and crew working on the show for such an amazing ride.


Travis Holyfield